Day 339, Year 5 Happy Birthday, Heather!
Date: Thursday, September 30, 2010
Weather: Sunny Day; Winds E 5 – NNW 15-20 – NE 10
Latitude: 14 32.628 S
Longitude: 047 37.150 E
Location: Nosy Lava, NW Madagascar

Thirty-five years ago today our daughter Heather was born. My but the years pass quickly. This afternoon just before we sailed out of cell range we called to wish her a happy birthday. It was 8 am and she was leaving in twenty minutes, so the timing was perfect. We only talked long enough to wish her a happy birthday as we know how busy those morning minutes are when you are getting ready to go to work and are trying to get two little ones ready to go as well. We didn’t even find out if she has any special birthday plans. So Heather, whatever the plans, enjoy your special day!

Our day started when the alarm went off at 4:45 am. We had planned to leave at 5 am but it was still too dark. So we delayed the anchor up time by fifteen minutes and the sun cooperated. When we got out of the bay we had virtually no wind coming from the E, so we motor sailed for the first five hours of the day. Mid-morning the wind picked up to 7-10 knots on the beam and we had a good sail. And then around noon the wind picked up to 15-20. We had a great sail for the next four hours. When we had no wind we changed our destination to a closer island but when the winds picked up we changed course for our original destination of Nosy Lava which made it a 55 mile day. Mark was kept busy putting up the pole to sail wing and wing and then taking it down as the wind moved around and then putting it back up again, but all in all it was a great sailing day with less time spent motoring than many of our jaunts recently. Tomorrow we have 40 miles to go to get to Moramba Bay but that won’t require such an early start. And who knows where the wind will be coming from tomorrow. The net controller on the South African Maritime Mobile Net tells us our winds seem to go in circles here in Madagascar. And that is certainly true. The only problem is that it doesn’t start coming from the same direction any two days in row recently, so making sailing plans is a bit difficult.

It was a bread baking day for me, banana bread as well as multi-grain, and I did a fair bit of reading about South Africa. I used the Lonely Planet to start figuring out the costs of visiting the game parks and it isn’t cheap. A tent on a platform with an attached bathroom and separate kitchenette costs about $45 US per person per night. We might get by a bit cheaper, but not much. But I guess that’s not a bad price for staying right in the park where we’ll see the Big 5-buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions, and rhino. But we have to get there first, so back to the sailing plans.